Saturday, January 24, 2009

Saturday Morning in January

A gray January Saturday morning in Harlem isn't the prettiest sight. The empty lot across the street from my building is still covered in a blanket of white snow, but the snow everywhere else has been reduced to chunks of black compacted ice that fills the gutters but blends in perfectly with the concrete. There is litter everywhere. I could spend every day picking it up, and it would make no difference. So I've become like every other denizen of this neighborhood, just ignoring it, or looking at it abstractly. There is nothing green anywhere. Only gray and the artificial colors of shop signs.

This morning I woke up and went outside to wander around a little bit. I got quarters at the laundromat, for future laundry purposes, and stopped at the drugstore for something. The grayness of my surrounding streetscape lulled me into a gray mood, which was interrupted only by a big guy who suddenly yelled at me, "Watch your back! Watch your back!" I looked up and narrowly avoided an oncoming car. The streets are a dangerous place, and just as wild as the jungle. I'm in awe of them and the mysteries they keep. For example, what night storm caused this urban tumbleweed to become lodged atop this fence?

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